If you’re looking for something with a little bit of international flair The Horror Network Vol. 1 should appease your appetite. The film is an anthology made up of 5 shorts, by 4 different directors. Each is set with distinctive national or international flavor. It’s a smorgasbord of viewing delights that is bound to have something to satisfy even the most discerning palette. Filmed in various locations nationally (USA) and in Spain, the anthology offers some varied horror tales.
Any epicure will tell you a five course meal needs to contain certain elements of balance, variety, a theme of sorts, to make the meal cohesive from course to course; anthologies are no different. There needs to be a logical flow to tie the shorts together into a singular piece, yet each piece needs to be strong enough to stand on its own building interest and desire for the next course (short). The tie that binds The Horror Network Vol 1 for me was mental illness; whether that was real or perceived who knows (that’s part of the beauty). As viewers we are left to sort it out for ourselves.
Anthologies are one of those things that never go out of style. It’s a great way to get introduced to directors and actors you may not be familiar with, and this particular compilation takes it a step farther by adding a level of international distinction with such names as Javier Botet (Rec,) Artem Mishin (Strapped), Manuel Marin, Ignacio Martín Lerma (Lluvia), Nick Frangione (Strapped), Joseph Graham (Strapped), rounded out by Brain Dorton and Lee Matthews.
On the menu in this anthology we have:
3:00 A.M.~ A woman taunted by an unknown caller in the middle of the night, tries to hold back her fears, but is it paranoia or something more menacing waiting?
EDWARD ~ A patient turns to his doctor for the answers to the question of good and evil after waking two days prior covered in blood, with no recollection as to where it came from.
THE QUIET ~ A young girl bullied for her disability is left to fend for herself when she is not picked up by her mother at the bus stop. Lurking nearby is a strangers car, but what can she expect from them help or harm??
MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS ~ A mother and daughter caught in the after effects of an abusive past try to regain their lives, but find themselves unable to move forward, with the past looming closer than they realize.
THE DEVIANT ONE ~ Neighbor preys on neighbor, in this black and white arthouse style horror short.
The Horror Network Vol 1 began as many films with the first 3 shorts being respectable but they weren’t particularly new in story or delivery. The last two shorts, however, blew me away. Merry Little Christmas is delivered with a shocking realistic brutality that shook me. It is not only graphic and cringe worthy but it also has a really interesting visual twist to it in the way the father is perceived by the daughter, absolutely stunningly done! The Deviant One feels very Gacy-esque, but it is done in this very refined and judgmental way, with the use of Biblical Quotes to help move the story along rather than dialogue. It is quite brilliant, really.
The only real problem I had with the film was the sound quality in the first 2 shorts. It was very brassy and didn’t level out. This is one of those things that I may have written off as the equipment I was using to watch on, but once I got to the third installment of the anthology I had no more sound issues, leading me to believe technical issues within the film were at fault.
On a whole the film is a really nice surprise. All the stories were worth watching, and flowed from one to another with relative ease; it was a logical procession. And although the last two were definite standouts for me please don’t the entire film works well and it is definitely worth a watch. I will be keeping my eyes out for these names again in the future! The Horror Network Vol 1 satiated my horror hunger.
Check out a trailer for THE HORROR NETWORK Volume 1: